The most exciting wine region in Italy. The largest, most interesting and beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea. Colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Normans and finally by Garibaldi bringing it into unified Italy in 1860. No country this size has had more influences to bear on it than Sicily. These influences are so pronounced today in the food, the people and the fascinating mix of incredible sights all bound within this 1000 miles of beautiful coastline.
Sicily has more vineyards than any of the other Italian regions and is constantly competing with Puglia (Apulia) for first place as the largest wine producer. Sicilians however consume less wine per capita than any region in Italy. Sicily historically used the goblet-trained (bush-shaped) vines, this type of plantings are low yield, high vineyard maintenance, and are particularly delicate they are also the most interesting for for fine wine production. Unfortunately for Sicily in the 60’s and 70’s many of these were ripped up by government subsidy programs and now most plantings are from the tendon and guyot training methods, what remains are now in great demand and no more so in the Etna region.
It seems impossible to think that at the turn of the century there were 50,000 Hectares 123,000 Acres planted just on Etna, today its 7,000 Hectares and honestly it feels like that number is growing daily. Taormina enjoys the most incredible backdrop which is Mount Etna; ever present and brooding. The Ancients tell us Baco/Dionisio first danced on her slopes and created the first vine.Many important wineries will have vineyards dotted all over the region but actually only vinify in one central winery.
Mount Etna is Europe's tallest active volcano at 10,930 feet (3330 metres). Wines from Etna are mineral-rich, but like nothing you have ever tasted. Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio are the red wine varieties of Mount Etna. Sicilian autochthonous (indigenous) grape varieties tend to be for white the Catarratto, the Grillo and the Inzolia. Marsala is made from the Muscat of Alexandria and the wines from Island of Pantelleria come from the Zibibbo, the Sicilian name for the Moscato. Nero d'Avola, a hugely important red variety, is planted extensively and when blended with Frappato you have Sicily's only DOCG wine … the Cerasuolo di Vittoria. 23 different DOC's are enough to keep us very interested. International varieties are planted none more so than Syrah, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Visits to the wineries in Sicily are always exciting, interesting, personal and as Enotourism is still in its infancy, this gives us still a very much an advantage, but come quick. It is important to remember we prefer to choice small and natural winemakers as opposed to the large producers/names.
The father of New Italian Wine making, Giacomo Tachis (Sassicaia, Soliaia, to name just a few), has frequently said there is nowhere better for complex aromas to be achieved in whites and red than in Sicily. Visits to the wineries in Sicily are always exciting, interesting, personal and as enotourism is still in its infancy in most parts odd, this gives us still a very much an advantage.
Any wine and culinary themed vacation to Sicily needs time. Don't try to seeing or doing too much. In Sicily less is more. Nine nights is the ideal time frame for a wine tour in Sicily, but we understand that you sometimes do not have that amount of time. If that is the case then we can bring the wines of the other Sicilian wine regions to you and we can concentrate on Etna's wines or base ourselves in Palermo or in one of the incredible wine resorts and discover Sicily from there. We love Sicily… End of story.
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Wineries of West Sicily
A blend we love that no one knows of. Excellent.
Masala winery that decided to move with the times. Very good wines, visit too commercial.
Not only a great Marsala maker, but also hugely innovative sparkling and white wine maker.
Making some brilliant wines, if expensive.